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Governor-General's statement in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic

Australia – indeed every nation around the world – is facing a challenge that is unprecedented in living memory.

COVID-19 is testing us individually and challenging our normal way of life.

It is a test that we will pass if we stick together, are considerate to each other and follow expert advice.

On behalf of all Australians, I want to thank those involved in the response:

  • Our doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners and support staff in clinics and hospitals
  • Our researchers and those in labs racing to find a vaccine
  • Those coordinating the response in our communities
  • Those keeping critical services running.

The situation is serious.

Listen to the authorities and follow their direction.

I also want to emphasise that this is a time for kindness and consideration of others.

Advice around social distancing is critically important and must be followed.

But I urge you to look after not only yourselves but also those in your community.

Stay connected - call or message your family, friends, and neighbours.

Ask people if they are okay.

Look after not only your physical health but also your and others’ mental wellbeing.

As I said in my Australia Day address, adversity not only builds character, it reveals it. We showed the world that we are strong and caring during the recent bushfires.

At the time people were donating supplies to those who needed them in communities left devastated by the fires. Now too many people are needlessly panic buying and hurting others.

We are better than that.

We need to demonstrate those same characteristics we showed in the face of the fires now.

While we would never have wished to face adversity like this – especially on the heels of the devastating bushfires – we will get through it.

Stay safe, stay kind and stay well.